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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

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Exaltation of
the Holy Cross

Numbers 21:4-9
Philippians 2:6-11
Psalm 78:1-2, 34-38
John 3:13-17

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the cross, the father, and love

"He humbled Himself, obediently accepting even death." —Philippians 2:8

"God put Abraham to the test" (Gn 22:1). Abraham obediently brought his son Isaac to offer him up to the Lord (Gn 22:3). "Abraham took the wood for the holocaust and laid it on his son Isaac's shoulders" (Gn 22:6). He placed Isaac upon the wood and reached out to sacrifice him. Then the Lord, pleased by Abraham's supreme devotion to Him, stopped the sacrifice.

Did Isaac live the rest of his life in dread of his father Abraham? How did Isaac react the next time Abraham wanted to go and offer sacrifice? Scripture portrays him only as a devoted son. Apparently Isaac was so assured of Abraham's love for him that he could accept the cross of being faithful to a father who once allowed him to be offered up on the wood. Likewise, Jesus wouldn't complain about a Father Who would allow Him to be sacrificed upon the wood of the cross. He simply said to His Father: "Not My will but Yours be done" (Lk 22:42).

We are children of a Father Who allows and commands us to bear a daily cross. Can we trust His love for us enough to stay faithful and docile to Him — no matter what crosses He requires? If we don't know our Father's love for us, we won't bear the pressure of the cross. We'll either complain (Nm 21:5) or flee from the cross (Mk 14:50). If we're convinced of His love for us, we will come to know the triumph of the cross. "Live in His love" (Jn 15:10). Take up your cross (Lk 9:23).

Prayer:  Father, I will stop whatever I'm doing and immerse myself daily in Your personal love for me.

Promise:  "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life." —Jn 3:16

Praise:  "Jesus Christ is Lord!" (Phil 2:11) Alleluia!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 1, 2011

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